BY BRIAN CUNNIFF
WILDWOOD – The girls basketball teams from Middle Township and Wildwood high schools hadn’t played one another in more than 10 seasons. That streak stopped Wednesday as the teams got together for a recently scheduled contest, with both needing a tune-up game heading into next week’s state tournament.
Wildwood, behind stingy defense and 22 points from Maddie McCracken, posted a 34-22 victory over a Middle team that has been decimated by injuries.
Middle, without three players who were starters at the beginning of the season, scored just 15 points through the midway point of the fourth period.
Wildwood (18-7) limited Middle to three first-half field goals en route to a 22-7 halftime lead. Middle closed to within 13 points late in the third quarter but Wildwood swelled its advantage to 19 points with less than five minutes to play in the fourth to put the contest away.
McCracken finished with a double-double, adding 10 rebounds to her game-high 22 points. She went 2 for 2 from the foul line to extend her made free-throw streak to 25 over her last three games.
Tracey Young added four points and 12 rebounds for Wildwood.
Middle (15-9) got six points from Brianna Armstrong. Wildwood, often employing a diamond-and-one defense, held Middle’s two leading scorers, Kira Sides and Katie Herlihy, to a combined four points.
Wildwood hosts Gloucester on Friday. A victory would give Wildwood a share of the Tri-County Classic Division title with the Lions. Wildwood suffered its lone division loss of the season at Gloucester, 45-37, in late January.
Middle finishes its regular season Friday with a Cape-Atlantic League consolation game against Egg Harbor Township.